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29 Teams We Hate: Tampa Bay Lightning

A team with crybaby fans owned by a guy who made all of his money in Boston.


The Tampa Bay Lightning are the "child" of a guy who spent the best years of his Hall of Fame career in Boston and are owned by a billionaire who made the majority of his money in Boston (and went to Harvard Business School).

Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that the Tampa Bay Lightning wouldn't exist without the Boston Bruins.

On behalf of the city of Boston, I'd like to apologize to the rest of the NHL for the city's indirect role in bringing about the Lightning franchise.

Owner Jeff Vinik, who ran a successful hedge fund at Fidelity for years, only gave it up and moved down to Tampa a few months ago, despite purchasing the team during the 2009-2010 season. One can only assume he's spent the last few years trying to figure out whether or not he can return the team to its previous owners after realizing what a horrible mistake he had made.

As far as the previous owners go, Oren Koules, Len Barrie and Co. nearly ran what had been a decent franchise up until that point into the ground, somehow losing tens of millions of dollars in just a few years. The ownership in Tampa got so bad that Gary Bettman had to call Koules and Barry into the principal's office and have a word with the two of them about sharing. That Tampa brain trust made a series of wonderful decisions, including:

  • Firing John Tortorella
  • Hiring Barry Melrose
  • Hiring Barry Melrose
  • Hiring Barry Melrose
  • Replacing Barry Melrose with Rick Tocchet
  • Forcing Dan Boyle to waive his no-trade clause under the threat of the waiver wire
  • Hiring Barry Melrose
Seriously, this is the franchise that is responsible for bringing BARRY MELROSE back to an NHL bench. Yes, the same Barry Melrose who thought Steven Stamkos wasn't ready for the NHL as a rookie. Yes, the same Steven Stamkos who put up 46 points as a teenage rookie (in spite of his coach's ignorance) then scored 51 goals the next season.

(Truthfully, Steven Stamkos rules. Remember that time he took a slapshot to the face, only to not only return a few minutes later but also pose for pictures with fans after the game? Poor Steven deserves better.)

However, the worst part about the Tampa Bay Lightning isn't their horrible management or their Flyers-esque inability to find a goalie or playing noted scumbag Steve Downie or buying out their captain or copying the Toronto Maple Leafs' color scheme or their weird Tesla coils (OK, those are kind of cool).

It's their fans.

Flashback to 2011, when the Bruins and Bolts were facing off in the Eastern Conference Final. The Bruins marketing team had been running insulting promotions for over a year, targeting whichever team the Bruins happened to be facing in the playoffs.

The Tampa ads continued the tradition, except the crybaby Lightning fans lost their collective mind over the "mean" sayings. Keep in mind, this was an actual ad that mocked the Philadelphia Flyers, whose fans...didn't really care. That's how sensitive Lightning fans are.

The leader of the meathead brigade was Mike "Cowhead" Calta, a Tampa (the 18th-ranked radio market in the US,behind Puerto Rico) Howard Stern-wannabe who told his handful of listeners to call the Bruins' marketing department and complain.

Being as smart as the average Floridian, these morons resorted to making death threats and racist/homophobic remarks to the people answering the phones at the Garden. The B's decided to stop putting their staff through harassing phone calls from yokels who probably needed help finding a telephone and take down some of the ads.

Cowhead, being the Mensa member he is, declared this a supreme victory, likening his band of buffoons to Seal Team Six. The eloquent Cowhead then took to Twitter and challenged every Bruins fan who said anything to him,firing back with witty remarks like "wookie", "ginger", and even calling a few people retarded.

This was really par for the course for Cowhead, who ran a "Retarded News" section on his website, hosted an altered picture of a child with Downs Syndrome on the site, and mocked Roger Ebert's cancer in an effort to appease...Charlie Sheen.

While the majority of Lightning fans aren't nearly as bad as Cowhead's crew, they're still the kind that need noisemakers to make their presence known. In the event that the Lightning actually win, they get confused and throw the noisemakers on the ice.

We'll compare crowd volume at the Garden and in Tampa. Listen to the Boston crowd after the Bruins score:

Oh, wait. Those games were in Tampa. That's weird.

Tampa Bay: a team that hasn't averaged 100% attendance since 2007, and averaged 87% attendance during a year in which they went to the Eastern Conference Final. An away destination for Bruins fans looking for a quiet, peaceful game-watching experience and tickets cheaper than a twelve-pack of Sam Adams.

Welcome to the Atlantic Division, Tampa. We'll always have this lovely memory: